Buddhism and Meditation

Life With Full Attention – Week 2


This week the MK Meditation Association practiced some Metta Bhavana and continued with r Life with Full Attention Course. Here are the notes from the meeting:

Life With Full AttentionWeek 2The Body


Body Awareness  

 

What would the Buddha make of us today?

 

 - “a Dragons Head on a Snakes Body”. An overdeveloped head on an underdeveloped body

- we are wonderfully intellectual, lots of knowledge and ideas, but perhaps too one sided

- a tendency to rationalise and theorise

 

Alienation – Many of us feel alienated:

 

- from our body – through “brain work” and lack of physical activity

- from nature – we are nature, yet we live in a man-made environment & one that is becoming increasingly technological

- through abstraction – literacy is a wonderful thing but may distance us from our experience – favouring thought over sensation

 

Awareness of the body has many benefits:

 

  • making us calmer and more effective
  • more graceful – gives a feeling of vitality and being alive
  • a cure for stress and a key to insight

 

Seeing Life Whole

 

  • our view of the body is often mundane
  • it is a machine, a “thing” that doesn’t figure much in our lives unless it hurts or needs feeding
  • it is owned by us – the mind, the personality, the “Captain of the Ship”
  • the body is the only thing that we know directly, from the inside
  • everything else we experience is indirect – from the outside – mediated through the senses
  • our experience of body is a unique one. How strange! How mysterious

 

Cultivating Sensitivity to the Body

 

  • Our sense of what is going on in the body is often vague
  • It is likely that we hold tensions within the body without being aware of it – in the shoulders, stomach, throat…unconscious habits.
  • Letting go of this is as much to do with the mind as the body

 

Stress First Aid Kit

 

1/ Notice when something is causing you stress – noticing is the start of changing it

2/Catch it Early – stress can build quickly

3/ Do Something – come into the body/get grounded or stop something e.g. rushing

4/ Extend Your Out Breath – through the lips like blowing through s straw (5/6 times)

 

  • emotions affect the body the body affects emotions – a two way process
  • physical mindfulness is a journey into depth – the experience becomes more subtle & rich – more integrated
  • this reduces inner conflict and releases energy & a sense of well-being.

 

The Body has a Wisdom of its Own

 

Thoughts, emotions and the body become more connected.

Our body begins to give us direct information about our situation and what we need – not just thoughts.

Second Practice Week


The Health Audit – The Nutrition & Ethics of how we treat our body

 

In your journal keep a 1-10 scoring system using your own categories e.g.

5 veg a day, 2.5 litres of water, 8 hours sleep, cigarettes, alcohol, exercise sessions.

 

It’s easy not to notice when good intention go astray.

Use your journal to observe what is really happening.

 

The Mindful Walk – an island of mindfulness. Try to do this everyday this week.

 

Think of a walk (5-20 mins.) preferably one you already do. Using your journal:

 

-         describe the walk – perhaps draw a picture

-         describe obstacles that might prevent you being aware of your body e.g. people wanting to talk to you.

-         try to think of creative ways to overcome these obstacles

-         review how it went

 

Working normally but being aware that we are walking. Not overly slow or rigid. Try:

 

-         bringing awareness into the body & it’s movements

-         bringing awareness into the soles of the feet

-         count the steps (maybe up to 5) like the mindfulness of breathing

-         use phrases – e.g. “walking mindfully” or “walking peacefully”

-         appreciative awareness – bring awareness to pleasurable sensations, the breeze on the skin, smell of flowers, sunshine on the face etc.

 

The Daily Body Scan  (in addition to a mindful walk – if you can – maybe 15 mins.)

 

  • Filling the body with non-judgemental awareness – not trying to change anything, not even trying to relax, but just noticing what’s there

 

  • Lying on the back with knees raised, feet flat on the ground, something low and soft under the head. Hands rested on the belly or by our sides

 

  • Feel the warmth and the weight of your body on the floor

 

  • Starting with the soles of the feet work your way up to the crown of the head

 

  • Be as detailed as you can, noticing what is rather than what you think is there

 

  • You will have a clear awareness of some parts of the body, others will feel vague or non-existent. Don’t worry, just notice what you find

 

  • At the end of the scan open your eyes and just rest, with soft unfocused vision

 

  • Do not rush to get up, move smoothly and mindfully

 

 

Remember to maintain your journal & to contact your mindfulness buddy. Doing this encourages us and helps the other person too.